In the fourth round of the 2017 MLB Draft, the Yankees have selected right fielder Canaan Smith from Rockwell-Heath High School 122nd overall. This is the team’s first position player after going with three straight pitchers. The six-foot, 210-pound lefty slugger has played all over the field and is the quarterback on his high school team.
The Rockwell, Texas native owns a disciplined left-handed power bat and hit .434 with seven home runs in his junior season. This causes many teams to pitch around him in 2017, but that just gave him an opportunity to show off his plate discipline with 57 total walks.
As Baseball America’s no. 366 talent, he’s shown above-average bat speed and power potential. It’s also not easy to pin him down to one specific position, since he’s played catcher, first base, and outfield in high school. It’s been suggested that he will ultimately end up being a full-time right fielder at the next level, with some first base also in his future. Catcher seems to be out of the question, though.
Smith is committed to Arkansas, so it will be interesting to see if the Yankees can lure him away from college and allow him to develop inside the system. They were able to nab outfielder Isiah Gilliam a few years back, which is beginning to look like a fruitful investment, so maybe they can do it again.
It doesn’t matter whether he ends up in the outfield or at first base because the Yankees will find a use for him. First base in particular could be a place for him since the organization has very little talent there (for good reason). They will keep him in the outfield until he proves he can’t do it, but he’s an athletic player so he should be fine.